Rise & Shine: With a week to go, Denver teachers take one more step toward striking

Good morning!

Welcome to a Friday edition of Rise & Shine. Congratulations on surviving the first week back at school.

Denver teachers continue their negotiations with district officials over ProComp, the complicated pay-for-performance system that gives teachers bonuses for working in hard-to-fill positions or having students with higher test scores. When I talk to Denver teachers, even if our interview is about something else entirely, this system often comes up as a source of frustration, with the chief complaint being that teacher salaries can vary by thousands of dollars from one year to the next, sometimes based on factors that teachers can't control. It makes household planning and budgeting really hard.

The deadline for a deal is next Friday, but the teachers union is getting its ducks in a row by delivering a notice of intent to strike to state labor regulators. Melanie has that story.

And I was at the Colorado State Capitol yesterday as Gov. Jared Polis, wearing his trademark blue sneakers, delivered his first State of the State address. His top priority: "Free kindergarten now."

Read on.

— Erica Meltzer, bureau chief

P.S. Are you a Denver teacher hoping for a deal or ready to walk out? Do you have an opinion about ProComp you'd like to share? Or are you a parent concerned about school closure? We'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this email.

Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox.

STATE OF THE STATE In his first address to Colorado lawmakers, Gov. Jared Polis made the case for funding full-day kindergarten and said he wants to get it done by fall 2019. Not everyone is sure Colorado has the money. Chalkbeat

NOTICE OF INTENT The Denver teachers union told state labor regulators they intend to strike if negotiations with the district are not successful.  Superintendent Susana Cordova sent a message to parents saying she hopes that doesn’t happen, but if it does, she’ll work to keep schools open. Chalkbeat

COMMUNITY INPUT Members of the deaf community say they want to be more involved in selecting the next superintendent for the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind. Gazette

SHOCK VALUE Officials in the Re-1 Valley School District in northeast Colorado are taking a pass on a program that stages mock car accidents at high schools. Students there already know the dangers associated with driving after one of their classmates was seriously injured in a crash last year, and officials believe the money could be better spent on mental health resources. Journal-Advocate

SCHOOL SAFETY Two Walsenburg schools were closed after a student threatened an assistant principal and guns went missing from the homes of two school staff members. Gazette KKTV

HELP WANTED The St. Vrain school board has an open seat after one board member missed three consecutive meetings. Times-Call